Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New Line Debut: Recession Friendly

One of the first new projects I wanted to do was come up with pieces that are both fashionable and affordable. I have a lot of ideas--no, really, a LOT--but this is the first I wanted to focus on. I am happy to declare that Idea Number One has come to fruition: Recession Friendly Pieces are now available.

I am really aiming to make jewelry pieces that are affordable, but don't look 'cheap'. I understand that times are tough right now. As a small business, I am one of many feeling that strain. Unfortunately, there are not many things I can do to truly help others during these times. But one of the things I can do is try to work with you. In an effort to do so, this line was born. I understand that many cannot justify or afford jewelry at this time; but for those that just want a little something, as a gift to themselves or others, I am hoping that these pieces can fill that need without breaking the bank.

No item in this line will be over twenty dollars. Most will be under fifteen, and many earrings will be ten dollars or even less. I am working hard on designing and creating a number of pieces that fit these criteria, so be sure to stay tuned for all the updates. I currently have three pairs of earrings listed. Please visit my artfire shop to see these listing; on the right hand side, click on the "Recession Friendly" sub-category. I spent today working on more pieces, and hope to list them tomorrow or Wednesday.

I am hoping to get a full range of products: necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and eventually rings, hair accessories, and even hand made greeting cards. In the near future, I will definitely develop a line of necklaces, including chokers and longer pieces; earrings; and bracelets, all in a range of materials, yes, even gemstones!

So how, exactly, do I create pieces with such low prices? Here is an example or two showing how I am able to offer such a deal. Sometimes, it comes down to materials. Glass is generally less expensive than gemstone, and plastic more affordable than glass. And so it goes. By using materials that cost less to purchase, I can pass that savings onto you. And there are many, many lovely examples of both glass and plastic beads; many examples are not, in my opinion, inferior to gemstones, just different. Now, just because the price is lower, does NOT mean the quality is in any way diminished. There may come a time when I sell a piece with a chipped bead or a bead whose color doesn't quite match the others. BUT if and when that happens, I will fully disclose the fact, including pictures of the defect.

To continue on about materials, there are also less expensive substitutes that can be used. Silver plate instead of sterling. Imitation gemstones. There are even gemstones that mimic gemstones which are more expensive. One of the best examples of this, I have found, is red agate mimicking carnelian. It is very difficult to tell the difference with the naked eye, and even then, you have to be familiar with one or the other. But to the untrained or casual observer, those earrings with the red agate price tag have a carnelian flashiness. Even glass has a 'top price' brand and less expensive brands, as do many types of non-gemstone beads. It's sort of like the difference between the big brands, the cheaper competitive brands, and the store brands.

There is also the grade of each gemstone. A AAA amethyst will cost a LOT more than a grade D, for example. Many gemstones are deeply discounted at grades C and below. You are probably sitting there, outraged that I would sell you a C grade piece of jewelry. But in many cases, the grade is given because every bead on the strand is not perfect. Or there are some inclusions or a lack of perfect clarity. Perhaps they are unevenly shaped or sized or colored. Many things can effect the grade of a gem, and the grade of the gem is what effects the price. So there is no need to worry that recession friendly equals no more gemstones. It will mean a lack of the more precious gems--certainly no tourmaline or ruby--but many low-priced designs can be made with gems. Either because the gem is common, and therefor less expensive, because there are not a lot of them in the piece, or because the quality is not as high. But you don't have to give up gemstones.

And one last example: Rarely, I can buy materials for a very low cost. There may be too many, so shops have marked them down as overstock. They may be a poor seller and are now in the clearance section. There may be one or two unusable beads on the strand. Maybe the store is going out of business or won't be carrying a certain brand anymore. Sometimes, they just have good sales or very brief discounts on certain products at different times. Now, that is not to say this type of deal is common, because it isn't. It is not often I see something marked down to, say, fifty percent or similar. I can often find lower cost items through the above methods, but rarely are they anything to get too excited about. And it is probably unwise to hope to find a strand of rubies for ten dollars. But it does happen (not the rubies bit, the great deal part). And should I find such a deal, I will pass on those savings to you. Even if they are just a little bit of a difference, because every little bit counts in this economy.

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